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Psychedelic Sausage

Putting the "umm" in umami for a trippy experience

Psychedelic Sausage

On September 24, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas debuted a new restaurant called Superfrico, which, it says here, serves “Italian-American Psychedelic” cuisine.

I remember that. I’d go over my “Nana’s” house, and I’d be sitting there watching the pasta noodles do a conga-line dance between the meatballs and the anchovies, which themselves would be singing “Old Man River.”

OK, that was back when I was young, and had really long hair, and it’s not a real stretch that there could have been some sort of chemical involved.

(Stop laughing. My hairline didn’t start receding until way after that. Like, when I was 26.)

According to the Robb Report, Italian-American Psychedelic is something of a “fusion” between Asian and Italian food. According to the article, “One distinguishing trait of Superfrico’s food is using Asian ingredients to amp up the umami of dishes. So the restaurant will serve 48-ounce Creekstone Farms tomahawks that are wet-aged in shio koji. There will be yuzu kosho squid with tangerine honey and charred scallions. And a chicken Parmesan that’s marinated in a yuzu-based ponzu sauce and coated with panko.”

OK, either I’m tripping right now, or I have to seriously brush up on my food dictionary. Amping up the umami? Had to look that one up. Umami means “savoriness.” As in, “Can you pass the mustard? This bratwurst has no umami.” Or, “That bean dip oozes with umami.”

Then there are the tomahawks that are wet-aged in shio koji. Hey, if someone hands me a stone Native American ax without shio koji, I’m out of there.

“Chicken Parmesan marinated in yuzu-based ponzu sauce.” OK, now they’re just making stuff up. I can do that, too:

“I’ll have the yazoo-drizzled shwamoo with the root’n-toot’n banana creole, coated with panky.”

“Oh, and Scrapple on the side.”

There is some stuff on the menu I do understand, like mortadella pizza that is a blend of Northern and Southern Italian flavors. (My family’s from the south, so I’ll pass. What, I’m supposed to put sausage from Milan on my pizza? Never!)

I’m still not getting why this food is “psychedelic.” Do the sausages glow with purple light? Does the prosciutto throb and move around on the plate? Maybe the restaurant itself is psychedelic, in an Italian-American kind of way. Like, they have background music of Perry Como singing “Purple Haze,” or Frank Sinatra singing “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Is In).”

Oh, I see. It does explain the psychedelic thing near the end of the article (I probably should have read the whole thing), in a quote from Ross Mollison, the founder of Spiegelworld, which owns the restaurant. “We say Italian-American Psychedelic, and people say, ‘Where’s the psychedelic? Are my potatoes going to be fluorescent pink or something?’ They’re not. The psychedelic is about everything, the art, the walls… Walk through Superfrico’s purple doors and you’ll get a feast for the senses.”

I don’t know about you, but if I’m entering a restaurant through purple doors, I don’t expect psychedelia. I expect pole dancers. But I’ve got to admit, fluorescent pink potatoes wouldn’t be a bad idea.

I guess I’m just not “hep” when it comes to being a connoisseur of fine cuisine. Or art… There’s a painting in Superfrico called Psycho Pop Party by Brooklyn artist Adehla Lee that the article calls a “statement of purpose” for the restaurant. Evidently, Psycho Pop art is like Andy Warhol stuff with a psychedelic glow.

Sometimes I don’t get art. But Warhol was from my hometown of Pittsburgh, so his stuff is A-OK with me.

Moving on, according to a recent report in the Las Vegas Sun, Nevada marijuana dispensaries are well on their way to opening “marijuana consumption lounges” that will create a “next-level” experience for anyone who would like to legally sit around and consume marijuana.

Planet 13, the largest marijuana dispensary in Las Vegas, plans to convert a 20,000-square-foot warehouse into a state-of-the-art marijuana lounge. It will be connected to what they call their weed “superstore,” so there will be an ample front-end supply of party favors for all the guests.

Here’s hoping they have big, cushy couches, and large speakers for Pink Floyd music. And cheeseburgers, of course.

Recreational marijuana use in Nevada is still banned from inside casino-hotels, although from what I smell on just about every visit to a Strip casino, it’s at least tolerated in parking garages.

Normally, by the time I get to the casino elevator, I’m ready to scarf all the Italian-American Psychedelic food I can find.

Frank Legato is editor of Global Gaming Business magazine. He has been writing on gaming topics since 1984, when he launched and served as editor of Casino Gaming magazine. Legato, a nationally recognized expert on slot machines, has served as editor and reporter for a variety of gaming publications, including Public Gaming, IGWB, Casino Journal, Casino Player, Strictly Slots and Atlantic City Insider. He has an B.A. in journalism and an M.A. in communications from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. He is the author of the books, How To Win Millions Playing Slot Machines... Or Lose Trying, and Atlantic City: In Living Color.